California Educator

December 2014

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and literacy, English language devel- opment, math, and science. The corps participants engaged in discussions and workshops to mas- ter four domains covering knowl- edge of students and their needs, strong content knowledge, instructional strategies and ways to connect instruction to expectations for student learning. The ILC structure is based on extensive research that shows that instruction improves and students benefit when schools provide high-quality, sustained professional learning, and teachers learn from school leaders, ex- perts, mentors and peers. Educators driving the profession This is a new direction for CTA because "it's the first time where we as teachers are forming groups to help other teachers with curriculum and instruction," says Jeff Orlin- sky, a 28-year high school science teacher in Downey Unified School District. "What makes this ILC approach unique is that there are a lot of really outstanding teachers who never know how to get their ideas to the rest of their peers. This project is helping other teachers share their ideas." It's like a movement, says Montebello Uni- fied second-grade teacher Gabriela Orozco Gonzalez, an expert on the standards who blogs about them at A 15-year classroom veteran, she already has a workshop on the standards set. "The teachers who are part of this movement are accom- plished, we really understand content, and we can write curriculum," she declares. "The project helps build my credibility with my district." In the Santa Rosa City school district, it was a natural for Assistant Superintendent Diann Kitamura to join the ILC project, along with three district teachers. Her district already has a collaborative network project for implement- ing Common Core standards that includes 50 teachers from every school site. "We have created professional develop- ment of teachers teaching teachers. It works. So when ILC came along, it made sense to join. We want to learn how to gain new ideas and best practices to share with our teach- ers and administrators." San Jose's low-income Alum Rock Union School District has had a somewhat scattered approach to training about the standards, says third-grade teacher Nate Dawson, who has a dozen years in the classroom. He looks forward to being part of a project that will expand the reach and goals of ILC to thousands of teachers. "We really have to get it up to scale, we have to stretch it out beyond the group we have now," Dawson says. "I really think it's a great chance to work with other teachers to share real professional develop- ment with each other, instead of having to go through professional development that doesn't treat us as professionals." Dayton Gilleland is superintendent of the Washington Unified School District in the city of West Sacramento. His district has one teacher on the ILC team and is working to build a district team to accomplish the ILC goals. He liked what he saw during the convening at CTA headquarters of administrators and chapter presidents who are not on the ILC team but can use and support the project to greatly enhance professional development. "We always talk about improving our collaboration and working collectively, and this gives some structure to that. There seems to be a lot of support, with both Stanford and CTA involved to make this happen," he says. "We're learn- ing to do things differently and more effectively for the sake of kids. And that's the compelling piece, I think, behind the work here. It's really focusing on improving instruction for the sake of learning, and that's what we're really all about. Common Core reflects that as well." ILC "Corps Advocates" come together to assess professional development needs in each region. From Region IV: Al Rabanera, Fullerton Secondary TO; Pia Van Meter, Riverside City TA; and Nelida Rubio, Associated Calexico Teachers. Sharing project ideas on science literacy are ILC members Toby Spencer and Phe Bach, San Juan TA; and Holly Sowers, Robert James and Ellen Raco, Tracy EA. CTA & You 53 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 5

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